Saturday, September 13, 2014

ARC Review: Bottled Up Secret by Brian McNamara

Song Of The Moment- Superman by Goldfinger
20702682Bottled Up Secret
by Brian McNamara
Release date: 8/25/14
How I got it - Review copy from Netgalley
Genre: YA Contemporary
Goodreads Link
Description -
Brendan Madden is in the midst of his senior year of high school and couldn’t be happier. He has a great group of friends, his pick of colleges, and he has recently come to terms with his sexuality. One night, he meets Mark Galovic, a gorgeous, younger classmate of his. In a matter of minutes, Brendan is hooked. As the friendship between them grows, Brendan reaches his breaking point when he spontaneously confesses his feelings to him. Brendan is shocked and elated to find out that Mark feels the same way about him. The two begin to date, but because Mark is not out, it must remain a secret. As their friends and family become suspicious, openly gay Brendan becomes increasingly frustrated with their discreet relationship, while Mark becomes more and more paranoid that they’re going to be found out.

I received this book from the publisher through Netgalley to review honestly

Initial thoughts(before reading) - My gosh, that cover is ugly. Also, while I did request this from Netgalley I didn't get an email telling me I was approved...odd.

My Rating: 2 stars (I'm extremely conflicted)

Review: I have conflicting feelings for this book. So this book follows Brendan who has just recently come to terms and accepted the fact that he is gay, but he's never dated anyone and he hasn't yet come out. Then he meets Mark, whose cute and funny and they just click, only one minute Marks flirting with him and the next minute he's flirting with some girl. This sets into motion lots of things, including Brendan getting up the courage to come out to his friends, and starting a secret relationship with Mark. Unfortunately secrets only remain secrets for so long...

The story was good, I loved the fact that one of the main gay characters was bi, and I wanted to love this book, but I didn't. It was a really fast paced enjoyable read, but there was a lot of things lacking at the same time.

Let's Talk -

Characters - I really enjoyed Brendan for the most part, he was a pretty likable character, sometimes he said or did things that were abnormal for a 17 year old guy and felt weird, but that's not really a flaw in the story.

The thing is, this book lacked character development. I knew who Brendan was(kinda?) because we were in his head, but the book jumps forward weeks and months, and a lot of it is telling and not showing. I'm not one who loves the hot and heavy scenes(like in Unravel Me), but I want a good swoon worthy first kiss and (first this is me calling attention to the fact that I read an ARC and these things could have changed) in this book we don't get that. We get a part that basically says I lean forward and kiss him...the end. Well not the end but the end of the first kiss. What!? I feel cheated!

Anyways besides that, I never really liked Mark, I loved seeing Brendan fall in love but Mark was selfish and I didn't entirely understand him or what it was they loved about each other. Same with most the other characters, I loved his friends but I wanted to see more of them. This is one of my biggest pet peeves in a book, when there is not nearly enough character development.

Swoons - I expected swoons and this book did not deliver.

The Serious Stuff - Meaning the parts that go beyond swoon and romance. So you have Brendan's mom who wont accept that he's gay. You have Mark who is terrified of coming out and the way people will see him and not willing to so much as ask himself if he's gay or bi or what. And these are big issues that if addressed more could have made this book so much better, but it's as if they were just mentioned to fill a plot hole here and there. I wanted these parts resolved or at least acknowledged in a way they weren't.

Overall - Unfortunately, I think this is one of those books that while I really enjoyed it while I was reading it, the more I think about it the more flaws I find. I will say I think it could have been amazing and that with a few changes it could have been epic. And that overall it is was fun and enjoyable fast paced read.

Would I Recommend This? I'm conflicted! I can't answer this right now!
Who Too? ^
Will I read more from this author? Probably, I'd be willing to give him another chance.

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